Growing up in San Diego, my mom would buy these fruit bars from a local establishment called Dudley’s Bakery. Chewy, dense and studded with raisins, these bars were the perfect pre-swim workout snacks. Over the years I’ve made several failed attempts at cracking the recipe code for these not-quite-cookie bars. I could never get the texture quite right. They were either too dry and crumbly or too chewy–like over-developed gluten.
To be honest, after my last swing-and-a-miss I’d purposefully put the damn things out of my mind.
Until a couple of weeks ago when I ran across a picture on Pintrest that looked like a “close-enough” match to merit the purchase of a bag of raisins.
Thanks to a blog called The Lemon Bowl.
Contrary to what people seem to think, I don’t generally eat a whole lot of what I bake. For me, baking is about making, not eating. It’s a hobby, like quilting or glassblowing or that weird thing they call cosplay that I don’t really understand.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit, these bars were the exception. They’re really good. Wholesome, satisfying, and for me, nostalgic, the magic in these bars is enough to help me not only overcome my distaste for raisins in baked goods, but
They are properly called hermit bars. But, in my head, they’re Thurman Merman bars. Should I fix some sandwiches?
adapted from The Lemon Bowl
- 4 C all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 2 C packed golden brown sugar
- 1 C butter (16 TBS) unsalted butter at room temp
- 2/3 C dark molasses
- 2 large eggs at room temp
- 2 C raisins or other dried fruit
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly pan with parchment (standard half-sheet, 12X17) with parchment. If you want to use a 9X13 pan, you’ll just have significantly thicker bars. Grease and then flour the parchment and sides.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, all of the spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter for 2 minutes.
- Add-in brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy, 3 more minutes.
- Mix in eggs one-at-a-time.
- Reduce speed and drizzle-in molasses. Mix until thoroughly incorporated.
- With mixer on lowest speed, slowly incorporate dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
- Pull bowl from paddle and mix in raisins/dried fruit by hand.
- Using an offset spatula (or floured fingers if you are brave), dump dough into prepared pan and carefully distribute until you have an even layer.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes up clean.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting.
- These will store well for up to a week in an airtight container.